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5 Registered Nurse (RN) Interview Questions and Answers

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What would you do if your nursing shift was almost up and your replacement had not arrived yet?


Asking this question lets you learn about the candidate's commitment to the well being of their patients. It also provides insight into how the registered nurse RN applicant would deal with potential conflicts between co-workers. You can discover if they handle things professionally or are likely to get frustrated and let their annoyance keep them from carrying out all of their duties. What to look for in an answer:

  • Prioritizing of patients' well-being
  • Patience and flexibility when dealing with scheduling mishaps
  • Desire to avoid arguing with co-workers

"I would report the problem to my supervisor. Until they sort out a replacement, I would stick around to make sure patients' needs are met."


How do you handle interactions with a patient's family who is unhappy with the nursing services you and your facility have provided?


This interview question helps you to see whether the candidate can remain polite and calm when dealing with unpleasant situations. All nurses encounter this scenario, so ask this question to get an idea of how they would react. You can find out how well they handle criticism on the job and learn if they are capable of using customer service skills to placate unhappy and worried people. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to deal with unreasonable people gracefully
  • Interest in resolving patient and family member complaints
  • Focus on patient care and putting the patient first

"I'd listen to them and try to resolve any issues. If they were still unhappy, I'd focus on the patient and avoid engaging in arguments."


What medical fields have you spent time working in before and which one did you enjoy the most?


There are all sorts of fields that RNs can work in, so it is helpful to ask this question and find registered nurses who have an interest in the areas that your facility specializes in. Taking the time to discover the nurse's favorite areas of medicine is useful because it gives insight into what drives the candidate. You can discover their passions and see what interests them. What to look for in an answer:

  • Detailed descriptions of past experience
  • Excitement about healthcare
  • Comfort working in a variety of environments

"I've spent time in cardiac care, perioperative care, and labor and delivery units. I especially liked cardiac care because it was so fast-paced and interesting."


What part of your nursing program has most effectively prepared you for your career?


Learn a little more about the potential hire's relevant training by asking this question. Asking them the thing that has most helped them prepare for working as a registered nurse RN also tells you a lot about their outlook, priorities and goals at work. You can discover which parts of their training they enjoyed the most, and their response may even give some insight into what challenges the candidate. What to look for in an answer:

  • Interest in fields the candidate would work in
  • Examples of what they learned
  • Details about how training helps them today

"Learning to treat trauma patients had a huge impact. It taught me a lot about treating serious injuries while keeping patients calm and comfortable."


Can you describe a time when you had a very sick patient and explain how you met their needs while caring for other patients?


This question is all about the candidate's ability to manage their time wisely. Using this question in an interview helps you to see how well the person would do with a busy workplace. You can discover how comfortable they are juggling other tasks and learn if they tend to get overwhelmed by having too much to do. What to look for in an answer:

  • Excellent time management skills
  • Good judgment when prioritizing patients
  • Lists of specific strategies that the candidate found helpful

"I wrote a list of all my patients' needs and how long each need took. Then I made a schedule to ensure everything was done."

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